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Arc Smart Fare System

CplKlinger

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Do you think it needs more?
As I previously stated, I understand why it is not possible for them to be rolled out in greater numbers; what I do want is smarter placement. If they can only spare one set of scanners for one half of the station, then they should put it by the entrance instead of halfway down where lots of people won't be passing by. That's just common sense design in my opinion.

I imagine that as Arc rolls out further and paper tickets get discontinued, the ticket validator pedestals will be changed to card readers.
There are already "blank" pedestals at some stations, including two at McKernan/Belgravia (iirc there's one on the platform near the south entrance and another inside the shelter beside the old fare vending machine).
Now which ones are you talking about being out of the way? VLSE LRT?

On the rest of the existing LRT line I have no complaints about card reader placement and I am assuming more will be installed.

Any concerns about crowding for tapping could be contingent upon if tapping off is retained. I could see that being eliminated except for cross municipal boarder travel.
Nope, I'm talking about the Capital Line to be precise. The other station I named is Corona, here's a shot I took today to show what I mean. They clearly only had one set to work with for that side, and yet chose to put it in a spot that is out of the way for many riders.
Arc Scanner.jpg

Is it minor, in the grand scheme of things? Sure, I never claimed otherwise. But as I said before, this is about making little improvements that are easy to do, and improve the overall experience for riders. Looking at that pic, I see what you mean about repurposing the validator pedestals, and I do like that idea. But until then, the scanners could have instead been placed in the center of those blue tiles for ease of access for people coming from/going to all three sides.

On the rest of the existing LRT line I have no complaints about card reader placement and I am assuming more will be installed.
It's nice that you've had good experiences in your travels. In my case, these are stations I use (or used) on a regular basis as part of my daily commute, and that means every day I have to go just that much further out of my way. And remember, I'm the sort of person who's so excited for Arc that I literally wrote an entire Wikipedia article about it. Sure, maybe more will be installed down the road. But this pilot has already been pushed back by months; what does that bode for the extra scanners? McKernan has had those empty podiums for more than a year now, and VLSE still does not have its readers. So considering the crunch needed for VLSE, how long will the rest of the line wait for more readers? Months? A couple years? Even longer? I'm not upset about that in the slightest, but what does annoy me is that smart placement decisions could have negated most of the impact of this scanner shortage and yet weren't made in cases like I highlighted.

Any concerns about crowding for tapping could be contingent upon if tapping off is retained. I could see that being eliminated except for cross municipal boarder travel.
That was not one of the concerns I raised, but I still think you raise a good point here. I think part of it will depend on whether they still intend to roll out zone-based fares once Arc is all up and running. Depending on what boundaries/distances they define for the zones, they might want to hold off on changing the tap policy until they're ready for that, just to avoid causing too much confusion among riders? Or maybe they'd be fine removing tap-offs for the short-medium term.

This is getting off topic, so I'm moving this discussion.
 
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EdwardEdm

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As I previously stated, I understand why it is not possible for them to be rolled out in greater numbers; what I do want is smarter placement. If they can only spare one set of scanners for one half of the station, then they should put it by the entrance instead of halfway down where lots of people won't be passing by. That's just common sense design in my opinion.

Nope, I'm talking about the Capital Line to be precise. The other station I named is Corona, here's a shot I took today to show what I mean. They clearly only had one set to work with for that side, and yet chose to put it in a spot that is out of the way for many riders.
View attachment 408256
Is it minor, in the grand scheme of things? Sure, I never claimed otherwise. But as I said before, this is about making little improvements that are easy to do, and improve the overall experience for riders. Looking at that pic, I see what you mean about repurposing the validator pedestals, and I do like that idea. But until then, the scanners could have instead been placed in the center of those blue tiles for ease of access for people coming from/going to all three sides.


It's nice that you've had good experiences in your travels. In my case, these are stations I use (or used) on a regular basis as part of my daily commute, and that means every day I have to go just that much further out of my way. And remember, I'm the sort of person who's so excited for Arc that I literally wrote an entire Wikipedia article about it. Sure, maybe more will be installed down the road. But this pilot has already been pushed back by months; what does that bode for the extra scanners? McKernan has had those empty podiums for more than a year now, and VLSE still does not have its readers. So considering the crunch needed for VLSE, how long will the rest of the line wait for more readers? Months? A couple years? Even longer? I'm not upset about that in the slightest, but what does annoy me is that smart placement decisions could have negated most of the impact of this scanner shortage and yet weren't made in cases like I highlighted.
I use the other end of Corona and it's well placed there. I agree in your one example that it is less than optimal placement, but, I still standby every other station I have been in, placement has been fine. The only stations I haven't used recently are Coliseum, Bay, McEwan and your particular end of Corona. Stadiums aren't great, but they get a pass until the rebuild is done.
As you note, Arc rollout has been delayed. I don't know if it's a hardware shortage or not. I tend to think probably not. It seems to me they rolled out enough equipment to get the transition period started. I could see that once an Arc rollout is confirmed for adult users, we'll see ticket validators quickly drop to one per entrance if/ when the adult monthly passes sales are ended.
 

CplKlinger

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I use the other end of Corona and it's well placed there. I agree in your one example that it is less than optimal placement, but, I still standby every other station I have been in, placement has been fine. The only stations I haven't used recently are Coliseum, Bay, McEwan and your particular end of Corona. Stadiums aren't great, but they get a pass until the rebuild is done.
As you note, Arc rollout has been delayed. I don't know if it's a hardware shortage or not. I tend to think probably not. It seems to me they rolled out enough equipment to get the transition period started. I could see that once an Arc rollout is confirmed for adult users, we'll see ticket validators quickly drop to one per entrance if/ when the adult monthly passes sales are ended.
It's interesting to know that the other end of Corona has better placement, I wonder if there are other stations we also had different experiences based on what entrances we used? Perhaps I was too pessimistic with my comments then, I honestly thought the problem was more widespread than it apparently is. Thanks for the dose of optimism here; I genuinely want Arc to succeed, so I'll take any reason to feel hopeful about it.

And yes, I agree that they have enough equipment for the transition phase. I thought that with supply chain issues (especially with chips), they might be facing some orfer delays; I can't imagine why else they'd put podiums up even though they weren't going to put machines there for at least another year.

If the placement issues I highlighted weren't present (come to think of it, the south half of Health Sceinces has similar issues to McKernan, dont know about the north half), I think they'd be in a near-perfect situation for the initial rollout. But, if the vast majority of stations have better equipment placement as you've said, and I'll assume that's true since I trust your judgment, I'll be content going a bit out of my way to tap at my usual stations, knowing it's an exception rather than the standard.

One more thing, just in case anyone is interested. I reached out to the head of the Arc program (about a few questions I had, not just this) a few months ago, and she said that it would be too expensive to relocate scanners since they'd need to redo a lot of the associated infrastructure too; she did flag it though, so that her team can watch out for similar feedback from pilot participants.
 
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EdwardEdm

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Examples from around the LRT:
PXL_20220622_192216681.jpg
Central East Concourse.

PXL_20220622_215742406.jpg
Churchill South Concourse- 1 more card reader which has a fence next to it. Commented by another person in another thread that there was only 1 reader at Churchill. Clearly, that's not the case. 2 pairs of readers, and no doubt more to come when the ticket validators are replaced. However, with the one reader partially blocked, right now this could be a bit less convenient.
PXL_20220622_214113146.jpgPXL_20220622_214001981.jpg
Belvedere, first the original fare collection area with 2 readers replacing ticket validators, and the second image shows 2 more readers that were added in approaching from the bus terminal side. There are 2 more readers that were added on the side coming from the main park and ride lot.

PXL_20220622_195012163.jpg
Additional readers added in on surface level entrance.

PXL_20220622_204740190.jpg
Grandin north concourse. Lots of readers for a quieter station.
 

CplKlinger

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Examples from around the LRT:
View attachment 409310
Central East Concourse.

View attachment 409305
Churchill South Concourse- 1 more card reader which has a fence next to it. Commented by another person in another thread that there was only 1 reader at Churchill. Clearly, that's not the case. 2 pairs of readers, and no doubt more to come when the ticket validators are replaced. However, with the one reader partially blocked, right now this could be a bit less convenient.
View attachment 409306View attachment 409307
Belvedere, first the original fare collection area with 2 readers replacing ticket validators, and the second image shows 2 more readers that were added in approaching from the bus terminal side. There are 2 more readers that were added on the side coming from the main park and ride lot.

View attachment 409309
Additional readers added in on surface level entrance.

View attachment 409308
Grandin north concourse. Lots of readers for a quieter station.
Thanks for sharing all those pictures, this is really nice to see. I'm not the one who claimed that Churchill only has one scanner, but nonetheless this is something I'm very happy to be wrong about.
 

JuliallThat

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I sent an email to the ARC pilot manager about a month ago to express some of my frustrations with the tapper locations. I missed my chance to say anything during the feedback period, but they said to send future gripes to this email arcprogrammanager@edmonton.ca, so I did. I actually got a reply back the other day, with one tidbit of potentially useful info.

What I emailed to them:
Hello,

I didn't end up using transit much during the actual Pilot period, but I've used it more since, so this seems to be the only way to provide feedback now?

I've got a very big concern I'd like to address.
This is coming from experience using tap cards in other Jurisdictions [Vancouver, Toronto, London (UK)]

The tap locations for the LRT stations I've used are horrific. Honestly it really messes me up, the tap locations are few, often in the middle of the platform, and not located near the entrances/exits reliably. This means I need to go out of my way to tap. This is especially problematic for tapping off, because I've gotten off the train, I need to leave, but instead I need to detour to a tap machine - and you expect every single transit rider to do this reliably during rush hour? It's not going to work. At a bare minimum there needs to be a bank of tap machines at the entrance/exit of the stations/platforms so that people can queue and tap as they enter and exit the transit space. The other cities that I've used tap cards also had fare gates on their train systems, which massively simplified the use of tap cards - you can't get onto the platform without tapping, and you can't get off the platform without tapping (at least in Vancouver). This means there's no opportunity for you to mess it up.

I really just want fare gates, that would make this system so much easier and more seamless. Vancouver brought in their fare gates with the introduction of their Compass card system and it made the transition so much more straightforward. I was living there and using transit regularly during the transition period, and it was much better than what I'm seeing with the Arc system here.

Thank you for your time,

How they replied to me:
My apologies for the delay in responding.

Your feedback is very important and this is the best way to send it in. Going forward this email is going to be better monitored.

As Arc is being rolled out in phases, we had to keep the old ticket validators in place for passengers who aren't using Arc. Once we're fully transitioned, these old validators will be replaced with new Arc ones - increasing the number available at each location. If after all the validators are replaced we find that we have gaps, we'll plan to relocate or add new ones.

At this time, I'm not aware of any plans to install fare gates, but that could always be a possibility in the future.

Please continue to send us your feedback, as your input will be invaluable in making sure the system works for as many people as possible.

So there will be a few more tap locations at least.... lol
 

CplKlinger

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I sent an email to the ARC pilot manager about a month ago to express some of my frustrations with the tapper locations. I missed my chance to say anything during the feedback period, but they said to send future gripes to this email arcprogrammanager@edmonton.ca, so I did. I actually got a reply back the other day, with one tidbit of potentially useful info.

What I emailed to them:


How they replied to me:


So there will be a few more tap locations at least.... lol
Ah, so the validator podiums will be repurposed for scanners — or at least they'll use the same spots. That's very good to know, thanks for sharing the response!
 

dkazzed

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Oh yea and the gong show of if one pays a cash fare on the bus, they have to buy a new cash fare on Skytrain since the bus dispenses tickets that don't have NFC required at the fare gates. Thankfully contactless credit card payment is transferrable to Skytrain. Or better yet, get a Compass card and pay the stored value rate.

One could attempt to forego Skytrain and take the bus to avoid paying zone fares but there are very few bus routes that run parallel to Skytrain and none of them cross the Fraser River.

One thing I love about Arc over Compass is the capped day/month fares. Day and monthly passes have to be loaded onto Compass before use AND they take about 20 minutes to load onto your card which I unfortunately found out the hard way. Or rather I was out an extra $2.50 for the day.

Oh, I had previously erroneously mentioned before that one does not have to tap off Arc cards after they reach their cap which is incorrect. Not tapping off Arc Card means there's a compensation fare and those fares DO NOT count towards the monthly cap.
 

CplKlinger

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Just watching the Executive Committee meeting, and in response to questions, city administration said they should be ready for a full rollout of the ARC system by April
Did they clarify whether that just includes adult fares, or is that for the entire fare structure being uploaded?
 

EdwardEdm

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Oh, I had previously erroneously mentioned before that one does not have to tap off Arc cards after they reach their cap which is incorrect. Not tapping off Arc Card means there's a compensation fare and those fares DO NOT count towards the monthly cap.

That was changed so that compensation fares now count towards your cap, and the compensation fare is now $0. This is less of a concern these days, but back when the readers were turning on and off when the doors opened and closed, it was not uncommon to have readers not working and so by not fault of your own, you would go to exit, you couldn't tap off, and you were changed $3 that didn't count towards your cap. Daily or monthly.
Incidentally, I should have had a compensation fare today. It occurred on my first bus. Driver opened the doors at a stop light, which was convenient, so a bunch of bus bailed. I tapped, but, not long enough apparently for it to register. Didn't want to risk holding up the bus if the light turned green so left it. Boarded the LRT, and eventually, once the system sorted itself out (it just shows your taps for a period of time until if figures out what to charge you) it shows an entry of "Purse Missing Tap Fare" and my $3.00 payment which is showing as part of my daily and monthly cap.
 

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